It’s no secret that TikTok is the newest social media star – this relatively young platform has taken the world by storm and shows no signs of stopping, with 1 billion monthly active users (as of January 2022) – enough to give Instagram a run for its money! But, unlike other social media platforms which leverage content for purely aesthetic or informational reasons (Instagram and Twitter, we’re looking at you), TikTok sets itself apart with an entirely new approach to content creation and consumption. On TikTok, it’s not about how perfectly filtered and edited a video looks, it’s purely about the joy that it sparks. Its unique algorithm is designed to favor “mood boosting” content, giving it priority real estate on its “For You” page – the primary source of discovery on the app. And as a result of this light-hearted content, TikTok posts boast the best engagement rate of all social media platforms – 18% compared to 2.7% on Instagram’s comparable Reels. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, where users are likely to follow familiar friends, celebrities and brands, TikTok’s emphasis on discoverability encourages users to follow and engage with creators they’ve never met before. Since anyone’s post can go viral in an instant on TikTok, everyone can be an influencer.
With a super-engaged audience and exploding user-base, it’s no surprise that brands are looking to this platform as a prime opportunity to target the mostly Gen-Z and Millennial users who spend up to an hour a day on the platform. In fact, TikTok has proven itself an especially valuable channel for brands – it’s users are 1.7% more likely to buy products discovered on the app, and 39% say they discovered a new product or brand on the platform (hence the trending #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt).
How Brands Are Using TikTok
A unique platform like TikTok requires a unique strategy for brands looking to capitalize on its impressive ability to influence purchase decisions. Because of the light-hearted and fun way in which content is shared, brands must take a less serious approach to how they use the platform, both when it comes to sharing on their own channels and expectations for partnerships with influencers. It also means they need to redefine “influencer” – because on TikTok, any customer can yield the same (if not better) ROI as a mega-influencer on Instagram.
Let’s look at an example:
Australian fast fashion e-tailer Princess Polly successfully penetrated the U.S. market with a goal to reach “the girl next door” thanks to a targeted TikTok campaign in which they strategically employed an “army of micro- influencers” in lieu of celebrity endorsements to generate brand awareness by posting shopping hauls and discount codes. This campaign not only catapulted it to the top 6th favorite shopping site for Gen-Z teens, but continues to bring in additional revenue for the brand.
How to Get Started
- Connect With Your Customers
As you can see from the Princess Polly example, one of the first steps in getting started with TikTok is to connect with your customers. So how do you find them? Gatsby, an influencer marketing platform, can help you connect with and discover your most influential customers on TikTok simply by capturing their handles at some point during their purchase journey (either in a pop-up or during checkout). You’ll then get access to their TikTok stats such as their number of followers, how many they’re following, number of posts, and more.
- Play by the Rules
TikTok plays by very different rules from other social media platforms. The emphasis is on fun, off-beat content that’s likely to make people laugh, as opposed to carefully edited and curated posts. In fact, most of what performs best on TikTok is downright silly! This is important to consider when initiating a campaign with your customers/influencers – what works well for your brand on Instagram might fall flat on TikTok, and strict brand guidelines for posting might stifle creativity. Allow your influencers the creative freedom to have fun with your products and showcase them in unique and different ways – you never know what might strike gold with TikTok’s users!
- Create a Challenge
Nothing excites TikTokers like a fun challenge! Whether it’s a dance challenge, a prank, comedy or something totally new that you create, odds are you will find an audience ready to compete. Brands have enjoyed viral success thanks to their own clever challenges – take for example Chipotle, one of the first brands to go viral on TikTok. Their #GuacDance challenge encouraged users to create a dance about avocados for the chance to get free guacamole when they placed an order on National Avocado Day. The challenge was so successful, it garnered over 1 billion views!
The new kid on the block, TikTok can seem a bit intimidating at first glance – after all, it is it’s own animal and behaves as such. But once you figure out what makes it tick, so to speak, you unlock a world of potential to launch your brand to new heights. Using Gatsby to help identify your most influential customers takes out the guesswork, so you can readily connect with your own “army of micro-influencers” who may in fact already be sharing about your brand.
To get started with Gatsby, install the Gatsby Shopify App or create an account from their site.